I had to check with my phone, not just to know the date today but to know the day. Christmas does this to me every year but this year it didn't turn to excitement in the knowledge that we were playing today.
And the numbers suggest that this is the same for a lot of Aston Villa fans this season. Villa Park has the worst fill ratio of all Premier League clubs and by a long way. We're currently at 72.3% and I suspect today isn't going to be huge, so that percentage isn't going to change much and even if we have a full house, which wont happen, it wont get us anywhere near the next club, that just happens to be our opponents today, who have a fill ratio of 87.3%.
And the thing is, for that to change Tom Fox has a hard job. It isn't just about PR anymore. Aston Villa fans have had so much PR and spin thrown at them the last few years that they know how to recognise it. It's going to take real action over words to change this number.
And that is why if we win today it isn't really going to matter that much. It isn't going to matter that much because right now there are three worse sides than us. Right now, we're safe as things are playing out. But that could all change in January if we lose Delph, Vlaar and Benteke. But that wont happen because the manager has said they're going nowhere.
And that's why I wasn't really excited about us playing today or the club in general at the moment and I'm not the only one thinking this. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to watch, it means something though.
Aston Villa v Sunderland
Even though the above is written, I do think we were a little unlucky against Swansea the other day and even though a point wouldn't have changed our position in the table, I do think it would have been fair. But even though I think it would have been fair, the fact is we lost again and this season we've only scored eleven goals and it isn't good enough.
But Sunderland are having a pretty poor season too although in all honestly, Sunderland supporters should probably be happy just to be in the Premier League, but that is me assuming that Sunderland fans are just like supporters of all other Premier League sides, maybe they're not. Maybe Sunderland fans also want the game fixed.
Either way, it would be nice if we won today only because it's Christmas and I think we will because it has been three games without a win and this manager usually gets a win on fourth time of asking. It's the Paul Lambert way. And this win today will mean he has another three games after to keep his job and we all know in those three games he'll draw one and lose one and then probably lose the other.
But we follow and even though I don't know if it's loyalty or stupidity anymore I do know it's something to do and that in a couple of hours you'll probably see me use the word spanking somewhere.
Stats, thanks to the BBC
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in six matches against the Black Cats (W3, D3).
- Sunderland's last win over Villa, indeed at Villa Park, was a 1-0 victory in January 2011, when Phil Bardsley hit a late winner.
- 10 of the 26 Premier League meetings have been drawn (38%), while only three of those games have been settled by more than the odd goal.
- There have been six red cards in the last 11 Premier League meetings between the two clubs.
- Villa have won only one of their last six home matches (D2, L3).
- Paul Lambert's side have kept just one clean sheet at Villa Park this season, a 0-0 draw against Newcastle in their opening home game.
- Villa have won none of their last eight home Premier League matches between Christmas and New Year (D3, L5).
- Lambert's men have conceded one goal or fewer in each of their last eight league games.
Updates and all that
So, we'll win today because it's time for us to win and if we don't it doesn't matter anyway. There are currently three worse sides than us in the Premier League and while that might not last, for now it matters. Because if we're not in the bottom three and there are three worse sides than us, we're safe. It isn't just about current form or what this manager will get us, it's about numbers on so many levels.
Back in a while, but for now it's time for some breakfast and light entertainment. And no, I don't mean that.